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Anderson church to celebrate first Latino-run food pantry

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — An Anderson church is stepping up in a big way to fight against the food shortage issue in the center of Madison County.

The Hands of Jesus Missional Food Pantry is a ministry of Tabernaculo Adoracion Familiar Alpha Church, 522 E. 53rd St.

The church will celebrate the food pantry at 3 p.m. Feb. 19. Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. will open the event with his remarks. The leadership team of the Second Harvest Food Bank, one of the partners of the missional food pantry, is also invited to the celebration.

The food pantry is planning to serve many families with healthy food and personal hygiene product. The Hands of Jesus Missional Food Pantry is preparing to launch the regular operations of the pantry within the next few weeks.

Dorama Azocar de Parra, the church pastor, said, “It is very exciting because we know that God positions us in the place where there is need. Us, every day, our life, our prayer, our dialogue with God is, ‘Lord, take me to the need of the people.”

Merlin Gonzales, chief executive officer and president of Faith Hope and Love Community, said, “This initiative in Anderson is going to make a big impact not just in the Latino community but the entire city.”

According to SAVI, a program of The Polis Center at IUPUI, Anderson has large areas of food deserts, meaning it’s harder to get access to affordable and quality food.

Gonzales said, “All the counties going east to Richmond, Indiana they don’t have any Latino food pantries and that’s why this is very essential.”

The food pantry will receive from 10 to 15 pallets of nonperishable food like rice and beans.

It’ll open once a month for now.

Gonzales says the church has tools and resources to connect with Spanish-speaking Hoosiers. “Sometimes because of maybe the culture or maybe they’re not acquainted yet in the culture in the United States that they may not be able to reach out to the available resources.”

He says it’s more than just giving away food. “Maybe lack of education, maybe addiction, they may need addiction counseling, or some other things and that’s why we have the food pantry.”

For more information about the food pantry, contact de Parra at or call 317-701-6477.